Remembering Our Ancestors: Sir William and Alice Harris

Here we have two ancestors from the Harris line that joined first the Mulford line and in the next generation the Denney line.  Alice Smythe and her husband Sir William Harris, a knight, both died this week 404 and 403 years ago respectively.

Sir William Haris Knight
This photo shows a painting of Sir William Harris, and next to him is a rapier that is said to have been his. The photo can be found on Sir William’s Find-A-Grave memorial.

Sir William Harris I was born on 21 September 1556 in Woodham Ferrers in the county of Essex, England.  His wife Alice Smythe was born in the same year in Westenhanger, near Hythe in Kent, England.  Both villages are east of London, with Woodham Ferrers being further north.

Alice’s father was Sir Thomas Smythe, who was Collector of Customs under Elizabeth I.

William married Alice on 6 May 1583 in St Gabriel Fenchurch, London, and the family had their home at Creeksea Place Manor.  One of their seven children was our 10th (and 11th) great-grandfather Captain Thomas Harris.

William was knighted on 23 July 1603 at Whitehall on the eve of the coronation of James I.  Both he and his brother in law, Sir Thomas Smythe and his son, Sir Arthur Harris, each, were Incorporators and Subscribers to the third charter of the Virginia Company of London.  Both Harris and Smythe were very interested in the development of Virginia.  They exerted their influence to secure money, men, equipment, supplies, and ships for the colonization efforts.  Small wonder that William’s son Thomas immigrated, although there are still some unanswered questions concerning Thomas, and some more research appears to be necessary.

William and his wife Alice stayed in England, though, and died in Creeksea in the same month and almost exactly one year apart:  First Alice passed on on 10th November 1615, and then William on 14 November 1616.  They both were laid to rest in the All Saints Churchyard in Creeksea.

Rest in Peace, Great-Grandparents Harris.



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